OT: Greatest athlete ever?

NickKnight 1

All American
Mar 22, 2003
6,608
1,472
113
Elliot from Union
When I managed the KFC in union Elliot Maddox frequently came in for his bucket.
There was also a left fielder for
the Yanks that came up in
their farm teams. He made it
at the Majors (yanks) but
switched to football and became one of the best receivers of all time. Do you
remember who ? you are right
he was great in football. but
was never going to be outstanding in baseball.
 
Last edited:

RutHut

All Conference
Aug 11, 2017
2,839
2,608
113
I think this guy is underrated.


I think "American Ninja Warrior" as as ideal athlete.
 

rudad02

All American
Nov 7, 2010
5,808
3,304
113
Big Will, you & I appear to be contemporaries given our past exchanges re: Manlius & Cortland St football. Enjoyed your stories about playing at both UNC & Syracuse. Thought I might share some of mine from Cortland.

Didn't play organized football in HS until senior yr. only sandlot tackle. Went out & started at RB & LB from day 1. Threw the option pass & caught the ball out of the backfield. Also ran back kickoffs & long snapped. At Cortland started at RB & LB on the JV. As you probably remember freshmen couldn't play varsity ball at the time. Stopped playing after that for various reasons.

At that time Cortland was a National power in soccer. No Divisions. In 1960 my freshman yr we had 2 first team All Americans & were in the National Tournament losing to UConn 4-3. Had an opportunity to see some games that year & thought it was a great game. Had never seen a soccer game or touched a soccer ball. Sophomore yr went out for the JV team & started at rt halfback[middie] for the entire yr. Next yr had to choose spring or fall for student teaching. As baseball was my main sport, chose fall.

Baseball--Sophomore Yr was All Conference short stop. Junior Yr All Conference 2nd base. Senior yr was hitting .478 when I fractured an ankle & tore ligaments. And we played everybody: Fordham, NYU, LIU Post, Cornell, Colgate, the Army Team at Fort Bragg, etc.
At that time Phys Ed was the big major for men at Cortland & there was no tuition at State schools so you had a ton of fine athletes who chose to go there.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: BigWill

RUinPAC10land

All Conference
Jul 30, 2011
2,898
1,381
113
La Canada Flintridge, CA
Don't forget our own Paul Robeson, who earned 12 varsity letters and was an AA in football during a time when it was tough to get recognition as a black man.

I'll also throw out Jim Brown, who we all know was an incredible football player, but he was also an AA in lacrosse and played other varsity sports while at Syracuse.

John Elway was a pretty damn good athlete, too.
Excellent post. Paul Robeson definitely belongs in the discussion. He was the Jim Thorpe of Rutgers.
 

mdk01

Heisman Winner
Aug 18, 2011
12,820
7,095
113
So funny.
90% of the names being said are baseball and football players from 125 years ago.

Lebron, Giannis, Zion and Westbrook are just a couple easy names to immediately list.
Bo Jackson and Herschel Walker played football in the 1890's? Cap Anson played baseball back then, but not Mantle or Mays. Last time I checked Chamberlain played hoops from the late 50's to the mid 70's.

So I'd say your 90% is a crock of grizzly bear scat (to tie in another thread).
 
  • Like
Reactions: NickRU714

DJ Spanky

The Lunatic is in my Head
Moderator
Jul 25, 2001
51,035
19,838
113
Bo Jackson and Herschel Walker played football in the 1890's? Cap Anson played baseball back then, but not Mantle or Mays. Last time I checked Chamberlain played hoops from the late 50's to the mid 70's.

So I'd say your 90% is a crock of grizzly bear scat (to tie in another thread).
Are there bells in it and does it smell like pepper?
 

tom1944

All Conference
Feb 22, 2008
3,562
3,894
113
What you don’t realize is fielding major league hit ground balls and line drives, and throwing from deep short stop on a line to first base as equally as hard as hitting.
Shit, you could ask our posters who play 3rd base in beer league softball
I played in a softball league and we had an ex triple A cup of coffee major leaguer on the team playing the outfield. He made a throw from right field to me at third and I just stepped out of the way because I thought I was going to die if I tried to catch the ball. The entire rest of the team all understood and many of them were very good athletes. They said the first time you try to catch a throw from him you are not prepared for the velocity.
 
  • Like
Reactions: redking

yesrutgers01

Hall of Famer
Gold Member
Nov 9, 2008
23,184
20,247
113
I played in a softball league and we had an ex triple A cup of coffee major leaguer on the team playing the outfield. He made a throw from right field to me at third and I just stepped out of the way because I thought I was going to die if I tried to catch the ball. The entire rest of the team all understood and many of them were very good athletes. They said the first time you try to catch a throw from him you are not prepared for the velocity.
Yep- I've told the story where I was a pretty damn good Softball(slow pitch)- that was very competitive in Poughkeepsie NY when I was in my early 20's. Strong arm, fast as heck type player. Thought I was pretty good until a team in our league brought in a guy that also got a cup of tea at AAA at SS. I hit a sharp line drive between 3B and SS and figured even if very good, this guy may get it deep in the hole. Playing SB distance and with my speed, I am expecting to go into first rounding the bag to think about 2B depending on if he got it or not. 3 feet before I even hit 1B I hear whssss POP. Damn guy picked it up back hand in outfield grass and got me with ease. Most of the time, if I was out at 1B by 3 steps it was a hard grounder directly at a infielder.

Of course- in later years- I got to see what a different type of athlete a pro ball player is and that it is a huge part natural and a huge part working at it harder then you have ever worked at anything in your life.
I can't even begin to describe a 300lb human that is a world class professional athlete in quickness and strength and add in that they can still chase down most humans over the age of 25...
 
  • Like
Reactions: redking and tom1944

yesrutgers01

Hall of Famer
Gold Member
Nov 9, 2008
23,184
20,247
113
Two other controversial athletes that come to mind that are super elite when they were in their prime.

Bruce Jenner
OJ Simpson
 

zappaa

Hall of Famer
Gold Member
Jul 27, 2001
49,658
44,005
113
Montclair NJ
I played in a softball league and we had an ex triple A cup of coffee major leaguer on the team playing the outfield. He made a throw from right field to me at third and I just stepped out of the way because I thought I was going to die if I tried to catch the ball. The entire rest of the team all understood and many of them were very good athletes. They said the first time you try to catch a throw from him you are not prepared for the velocity.
The issue I had playing short stop on softball tournament teams was whoever my 2nd baseman was could never properly adjust and get himself into position to receive a double ball play from me.
From the time the ball hit my glove, it was out of my hand on its way to him in about a tenth of a second with velocity.
All of them were used to about a two second delay and lolly pop throw, until they got used to it, they were catching my feeds in self defense, or got hit in the chest before they could get their glove up
 
  • Like
Reactions: tom1944

tom1944

All Conference
Feb 22, 2008
3,562
3,894
113
The issue I had playing short stop on softball tournament teams was whoever my 2nd baseman was could never properly adjust and get himself into position to receive a double ball play from me.
From the time the ball hit my glove, it was out of my hand on its way to him in about a tenth of a second with velocity.
All of them were used to about a two second delay and lolly pop throw, until they got used to it, they were catching my feeds in self defense, or got hit in the chest before they could get their glove up
Zap I still recall the throw and it was close to 40 years ago. The way I describe it was the ball was covering so much distance so fast and I swear the ball was bouncing in the air in about a 6 inch range up and down but following a perfect direct line path from where he released it. If someone told me there were flames coming out of the ball I would have believed them.
 

bethlehemfan

All American
Gold Member
Sep 6, 2003
8,013
4,727
113
Had a family member who pitched 4 years for a patriot league team. Its really an eye opener when you see what kind of athletes play baseball even in that league. People have no clue.
 

tom1944

All Conference
Feb 22, 2008
3,562
3,894
113
I never understand the point of diminishing any professional sport or the athletes who make that level. I don't think people really fathom how exceptional those athletes are.
I have 2 friends one was excellent in golf generally scoring in the low 70's and another who was an excellent bowler with multiple 300 games and a very high average series in his league.

Both put things in perspective for me.

I asked my golf buddy if he ever considered trying to make the Senior circuit and he laughed and told me the courses he scored in the low 70's they might break 65 every round and the PGA guys would go under 60 as often as not. He said if he played under the course conditions they played he would shoot close to 80.

My bowler buddy told me if he bowled on the lane conditions the pro bowlers faced (the oil conditions) his scores would plummet. He said he was a very good bowler in a competitive league but he was not the caliber of a professional.

I think back of all the best players I knew from high school and college and how good they were and then realize that even the very best never had a chance to be a pro and the small number who did (I can think of less than 10) had at best what I referred to as a cup of coffee at that level
 

yesrutgers01

Hall of Famer
Gold Member
Nov 9, 2008
23,184
20,247
113
The issue I had playing short stop on softball tournament teams was whoever my 2nd baseman was could never properly adjust and get himself into position to receive a double ball play from me.
From the time the ball hit my glove, it was out of my hand on its way to him in about a tenth of a second with velocity.
All of them were used to about a two second delay and lolly pop throw, until they got used to it, they were catching my feeds in self defense, or got hit in the chest before they could get their glove up
Quick question...I will go with Softball which relies less on lefty/righty hitters. Man on 1B less than 2 hows. Ball hit up the middle that the pitcher snags- who takes the throw- SS or 2B?

Everything in my life and watching and playing says that it has to be the SS. With no shift- ball up the middle SS is already heading that way with momentum going toward 1B...I have actually had this argument with more than 1 2B player in semi casual leagues where they thought it had to go to 2B....

Was I wrong my entire life and they have a point that 2B should take it, pivot and throw to first or like I said with disbelief, I take it with momentum and go to first?

Stupid question but was thinking I may be crazy when I heard mult people say that 2B takes that DP throw...
 

yesrutgers01

Hall of Famer
Gold Member
Nov 9, 2008
23,184
20,247
113
The reason I would go with Bo Jackson is that numbers he put up 20-30 years ago still stand up as almost unthinkable today. And some of those numbers like his college 40 was under circumstances that are mind blowing.

If not injured- maybe easy HOF in both NFL and MLB. He did things in both sports that may never be seen again.
 
  • Like
Reactions: redking

tom1944

All Conference
Feb 22, 2008
3,562
3,894
113
The reason I would go with Bo Jackson is that numbers he put up 20-30 years ago still stand up as almost unthinkable today. And some of those numbers like his college 40 was under circumstances that are mind blowing.

If not injured- maybe easy HOF in both NFL and MLB. He did things in both sports that may never be seen again.

He has to be in the conversation
 

zappaa

Hall of Famer
Gold Member
Jul 27, 2001
49,658
44,005
113
Montclair NJ
Quick question...I will go with Softball which relies less on lefty/righty hitters. Man on 1B less than 2 hows. Ball hit up the middle that the pitcher snags- who takes the throw- SS or 2B?

Everything in my life and watching and playing says that it has to be the SS. With no shift- ball up the middle SS is already heading that way with momentum going toward 1B...I have actually had this argument with more than 1 2B player in semi casual leagues where they thought it had to go to 2B....

Was I wrong my entire life and they have a point that 2B should take it, pivot and throw to first or like I said with disbelief, I take it with momentum and go to first?

Stupid question but was thinking I may be crazy when I heard mult people say that 2B takes that DP throw...
Straight up defense the short stop takes it for sure.
With a right handed pull hitter up, you have to let the second baseman take it.
One or two steps to pull, the short stop can still get there, but the pitcher should be able to get you the ball before you get to the bag....you catch the ball on the run a few strides from the base
 

rudad02

All American
Nov 7, 2010
5,808
3,304
113
Quick question...I will go with Softball which relies less on lefty/righty hitters. Man on 1B less than 2 hows. Ball hit up the middle that the pitcher snags- who takes the throw- SS or 2B?

Everything in my life and watching and playing says that it has to be the SS. With no shift- ball up the middle SS is already heading that way with momentum going toward 1B...I have actually had this argument with more than 1 2B player in semi casual leagues where they thought it had to go to 2B....

Was I wrong my entire life and they have a point that 2B should take it, pivot and throw to first or like I said with disbelief, I take it with momentum and go to first?

Stupid question but was thinking I may be crazy when I heard mult people say that 2B takes that DP throw...
Infield playing straight away, the short stop takes it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: zappaa

yesrutgers01

Hall of Famer
Gold Member
Nov 9, 2008
23,184
20,247
113
Straight up defense the short stop takes it for sure.
With a right handed pull hitter up, you have to let the second baseman take it.
One or two steps to pull, the short stop can still get there, but the pitcher should be able to get you the ball before you get to the bag....you catch the ball on the run a few strides from the base
Always thought this was baseball 101- the way I played and way I coached. I think it was always egos when you got to the Softball Leagues. In my very competitive league- Petes Car Wash out of Poughkeepsie that was Nationally recognized, it was the standard. But as I moved into competitive but "nitch" leagues like firehouses and such- I got into these arguments all the time. I thought I was losing my baseball mind- kind of like talking football to some posters with 50k posts and such. lol
I even had to use the word "physics" to some of these guys when explaining the play. And to be brutally honest- SS on a softball team is usually the best player- 2nd Base...not so much - competes with RF
 
  • Like
Reactions: zappaa

yesrutgers01

Hall of Famer
Gold Member
Nov 9, 2008
23,184
20,247
113
Also for the Wilt comments- his numbers when he posted them were insane for a man his size. To be 7 ft tall and still run, jump etc with guys a foot or more and 100lbs less...crazy
 

zappaa

Hall of Famer
Gold Member
Jul 27, 2001
49,658
44,005
113
Montclair NJ
Always thought this was baseball 101- the way I played and way I coached. I think it was always egos when you got to the Softball Leagues. In my very competitive league- Petes Car Wash out of Poughkeepsie that was Nationally recognized, it was the standard. But as I moved into competitive but "nitch" leagues like firehouses and such- I got into these arguments all the time. I thought I was losing my baseball mind- kind of like talking football to some posters with 50k posts and such. lol
I even had to use the word "physics" to some of these guys when explaining the play. And to be brutally honest- SS on a softball team is usually the best player- 2nd Base...not so much - competes with RF
If the ball is hit hard anywhere to your left, take it yourself....lol
Same physics and science apply
 
  • Like
Reactions: yesrutgers01

zappaa

Hall of Famer
Gold Member
Jul 27, 2001
49,658
44,005
113
Montclair NJ
I never understand the point of diminishing any professional sport or the athletes who make that level. I don't think people really fathom how exceptional those athletes are.
I have 2 friends one was excellent in golf generally scoring in the low 70's and another who was an excellent bowler with multiple 300 games and a very high average series in his league.

Both put things in perspective for me.

I asked my golf buddy if he ever considered trying to make the Senior circuit and he laughed and told me the courses he scored in the low 70's they might break 65 every round and the PGA guys would go under 60 as often as not. He said if he played under the course conditions they played he would shoot close to 80.

My bowler buddy told me if he bowled on the lane conditions the pro bowlers faced (the oil conditions) his scores would plummet. He said he was a very good bowler in a competitive league but he was not the caliber of a professional.

I think back of all the best players I knew from high school and college and how good they were and then realize that even the very best never had a chance to be a pro and the small number who did (I can think of less than 10) had at best what I referred to as a cup of coffee at that level
Go watch the two best tennis players in your town play for the “town championship”
You’d be like damn, these guys are good.
Then think about them playing against one of the best 50 players in the world.

There’s not a human being on the planet who didn’t play baseball at an elite level that can even fathom or understand how hard Dave Winfield or Aaron Judge hit the ball...it’s unexplainable.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: tom1944

tom1944

All Conference
Feb 22, 2008
3,562
3,894
113
Go watch the two best tennis players in your town play for the “town championship”
You’d be like damn, these guys are good.
Then think about them playing against one of the best 50 players in the world.

There’s not a human being on the planet who didn’t play baseball at an elite level that can even fathom or understand how hard Dave Winfield or Aaron Judge hit the ball...it’s unexplainable.
Absolutely
 

SteveVA2

Senior
Gold Member
Oct 15, 2001
1,143
315
83
Hilton Head Island, SC
Milt Campbell from Plainfield. All State in high school in swimming and football; silver medal in the decathlon while still in high school; gold medal four years later. Was denied a full career in the NFL because of racism. Denied the opportunity to compete in the Olympics in Judo because he played professional football.
 
  • Like
Reactions: redking

tom1944

All Conference
Feb 22, 2008
3,562
3,894
113
Milt Campbell from Plainfield. All State in high school in swimming and football; silver medal in the decathlon while still in high school; gold medal four years later. Was denied a full career in the NFL because of racism. Denied the opportunity to compete in the Olympics in Judo because he played professional football.
My dad always talked about him
 

robcac26

Senior
Nov 30, 2012
1,727
1,235
113
Always thought this was baseball 101- the way I played and way I coached. I think it was always egos when you got to the Softball Leagues. In my very competitive league- Petes Car Wash out of Poughkeepsie that was Nationally recognized, it was the standard. But as I moved into competitive but "nitch" leagues like firehouses and such- I got into these arguments all the time. I thought I was losing my baseball mind- kind of like talking football to some posters with 50k posts and such. lol
I even had to use the word "physics" to some of these guys when explaining the play. And to be brutally honest- SS on a softball team is usually the best player- 2nd Base...not so much - competes with RF
Yeah I had a similar experience in hockey. I played semi-pro roller hockey for a years, which I preferred to call "adult travel" since it was nowhere near semi-pro ice hockey, but it was still a step up from typical local men's leagues. Anyway, we had a goalie with us for a little bit that played in the ECHL (two levels below the NHL), and he explained to us that on a 2-on-1, the defenseman should decide which player to take based on the handedness of the forwards. For example, if they are both right-handed, you want the guy on your left to take the shot since he has a worse shooting angle. A few years later, playing men's league, I explained this to my goalie who had never played anything higher than men's league, never even had a coach, and he disagreed with me and told me the defenseman should always take the pass away. When I told him I'm trying to make it easier for him to make a save, his argument was just, "Nah this is how I play."

Go watch the two best tennis players in your town play for the “town championship”
You’d be like damn, these guys are good.
Then think about them playing against one of the best 50 players in the world.

There’s not a human being on the planet who didn’t play baseball at an elite level that can even fathom or understand how hard Dave Winfield or Aaron Judge hit the ball...it’s unexplainable.
When I was working at a rink, one day I was in the lobby greeting families coming in to bring their kids to our learn-to-play program. On the other side of the lobby, there was a AAA U16 or U18 game going on. One of the newcomers' moms was in awe at the pace of the game and asked us how many of those players have a chance at the NHL. The learn-to-play coach beside me said, "Well you know, if they train really hard and do the best they can, maybe a couple might have a shot." After the mom walked away, we both said to each other, "Yeah probably none of those kids will ever come close." He said of all the people he played with growing up playing high-level youth hockey in Quebec, only one guy ever made it to the NHL--Alexandre Daigle. This coach was something else though, blew my mind when this guy with gray hair, back problems, and a wood stick was dancing around me as if I wasn't even there.
 
  • Like
Reactions: zappaa

yesrutgers01

Hall of Famer
Gold Member
Nov 9, 2008
23,184
20,247
113
Go watch the two best tennis players in your town play for the “town championship”
You’d be like damn, these guys are good.
Then think about them playing against one of the best 50 players in the world.

There’s not a human being on the planet who didn’t play baseball at an elite level that can even fathom or understand how hard Dave Winfield or Aaron Judge hit the ball...it’s unexplainable.
Zap- I know it is sometimes difficult for someone like yourself to explain as you were "one of those elite" and it would seem like talking down...But you are 100% correct

Makes me think of again, my son...playing local Hoops at the gym after his career- kid played HS football against him ...Kid(26/yo) thinks he can get under his skin with "You are soft, always soft" Kevin just says - Ask JPP, Polamalu and Harrison how soft...

Doesnt matter if you are HOF or 10 AB's - you can always say you went against Seaver, Carlton, and so many others...So many of us that played sports and thought we were good- or were just fans...have no clue...even from P5 college to Pro- You just don't know the difference unless you did it.

I actually realized it on a foul ball by Stargell- as a kid...Realized it a 2nd time with a son that became NFL OT.

You, like anyone that has made these levels- it is almost impossible to explain to us "normal" folk.......lol
 
  • Like
Reactions: redking and tom1944